By DAPO OLAWUNI
Activities at Nigeria’s biggest RoRo Port; PTML Terminal has been crippled by traffic gridlock along the port corridor, this has led to clearing agents under the aegis of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) raising an alarm as vehicles cleared at the port could not exit.
Speaking with DAILY TREND NEWS on Thursday, Chairman of ANLCA at PTML, Elder Oluwole Obey alleged that Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) security officers in connivance with the Police, were collecting bribes from truck drivers to allow them drive against traffic, therefore further compounding the traffic woes.
According to him, cargoes could not be moved out of the port for the past four days due to the traffic gridlock.
Investigations by DAILY TREND NEWS at the port yesterday revealed that the ongoing construction of the Tin Can Island axis of the Apapa-Oshodi expressway has caused untold hardship on port users, clearing agents and importers.
All the trucks visiting PTML Terminal, Tin Can Port 1st and 2nd gate, were all diverted inside the port access, thereby blocking the major entrances of the terminal operators.
The axis also has a petroleum tank farm; MRS Oil beside PTML Terminal and Grimaldi Shipping, as a result thousands of trucks and petroleum tankers besiege the port daily, struggling for access.
According to the clearing agents at PTML, huge demurrages and storage charges were already accruing daily as a result of the traffic gridlock.
For example, on heavy duty trucks, the agents pay N9,810 everyday as progressive storage charge for the first five days called “the first period”.
The second period attracts N47,960 per day and the last period is N65,400 per day.
On vehicles, N900,00 is paid in the first period, while N6,000 is paid on final period.
On containers, the agents pay N1,800 for the first period, while N12,000 is charged daily during the last period.
The operators however alleged that the traffic gridlock at the port is man-made, and that the NPA security officials, the police who are suppose to direct the traffic were profiting from it.
Elder Oluwole Obey, the ANLCA Chairman said “The NPA are here, the police are also here, they are asking the trucks to pass one-way (against traffic) if you have consignments at Grimaldi, you cannot come out of the terminal for three to four days, and the Grimaldi Shipping is asking us to pay storage”
“The situation is not the fault of Grimaldi Shipping, it is the fault of NPA and Police on the road.
The area has been jam-packed with both petroleum tankers and container laden trucks”
“The authorities should come and see, we need their assistance, there is no road to go out of the port and people are dying”
“The road construction on the expressway has caused trucks to be diverted through here, but then, the traffic is supposed to be organised, it not for them to be creating unnecessary lockdown”
Elder Obey told our correspondent that ANLCA is going to take its destiny in its hand and that the association would set up a task force that would be controlling the traffic at PTML axis.
On the task force, he said “We are going to have a meeting, its a collaboration job, not only us, we would work with them to ensure the road is free, my people are really suffering”
“We have discussed with the customs at our stakeholders meeting yesterday, the Customs said they have been looking for the NPA port manager, and that they even invited him to come for a meeting for the past three weeks, yet the NPA man failed to show up”